Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book #66

DC Universe Legacies: By Len Wein and an assortment of artists, including Keith Giffen, Jerry Ordway, Walt Simonson, the Kuberts, Dave Gibbons, and Jose-Luis Garcia-Lopez. Graphic novel.

Whether it was planned this way or not, it was fortuitous that this book came out shortly before DC Comics rebooted their entire universe with the "New 52" initiative. This 12-issue series is an ambitious (and mostly successful) attempt to tell the entire story of DC Comics' history, from the Justice Society to the Doom Patrol to the dark times of the 1990s and beyond.  Included are great retellings of iconic DC moments, from Bane breaking the Batman, the Death of Superman, Crisis on Infinites Earths, and the controversial Identity Crisis. As a defender of the final story, it was gratifying to see it included here.

The narrative is told using the framing device of a retired Metropolis police officer telling the story of his life. Of course, living in Superman's city, he has had a front row seat to many of these events. The events that took place outside of Metropolis (or off of Earth) are presented through newspaper clipping that he has collected. These devices help turn seven decades of disparate events into a single story.

The backup stories in each issue were also very entertaining -- in the collected edition, these were all included at the end of the volume, which was a smart editing choice. These backup stories were an opportunity to tell the stories of obscure heroes (Challengers of the Unknown, Adam Strange) or thematic characters (war heroes, western characters). The short Shazam story drawn by Bill Sinciewicz may be the highlight of the entire 12 issues.
I loved this volume, and has easily become one of my favorites collected editions.

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